Force India considering team name change

Force India is considering changing its name to give it a more "international flavour" and make the Formula 1 team more attractive to potential new sponsors, says boss Vijay Mallya.

Force India considering team name change
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner with the Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10, Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10

Mallya bought the team that was formerly known as Jordan, Midland and then Spyker and rebranded it Force India in 2008.

It aimed to attract Indian sponsors and bring an Indian driver into F1.

Since then, Force India has made progress up the field, finishing a career-best fourth in the constructors' championship last year and it currently holds that position after seven races.

But while it has delivered impressive performances and added sponsors, such as water technology specialists BWT this season, the team has not had much success bringing Indian companies onboard.

This is not the first time the team has considered a name change, with Force India coming close to rebranding itself as Aston Martin Racing for 2016, only for the deal to collapse at the final hurdle.

Mallya said: "There is a growing feeling that maybe since we are a much-improved team in terms of performance and attracting more international sponsors, and sadly less Indian sponsors, there is a debate as to why the name should not be changed to give it a more international flavour.

"There are some people who believe the current name Force India is restrictive psychologically.

"I'm considering along with the other shareholders what steps to take but it's a major decision and one that is not going to be taken in a hurry without due consideration.

"More importantly, we have to look at the way the F1 scenario is unfolding under Liberty ownership. If they follow the NFL model, then of course the name becomes even more important because it's a franchise model where the focus is on the name. But the current pattern may continue.

"These are all issues I'll consider with the other shareholders before arriving at any final conclusion."

Mallya said there was a "proposal on the table" from a sponsor regarding the name change while adding the team is in "negotiations for some additional sponsorships as well".

The Indian businessman said the fact he is considering a name change has "absolutely" nothing to do with his current legal situation.

Authorities in India are chasing Mallya for around £900million they claim he owes in the wake of the collapse of one of his former businesses, Kingfisher Airlines, in 2013.

Mallya had his diplomatic passport revoked last April, with a warrant issued for his arrest, and he has since been residing in the UK.

"The fact the country of India and me are not the best partners is something that has been going on for a few years now," said Mallya. "This is nothing new.

"I haven't in the last few years considered any name change. It's purely to do with current sponsorship, a proposal on the table and sponsorship going forward for the team."

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